Health or Death? The Online Purchase Intentions of Consumers during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Keywords:utilitarian shopping value, hedonic shopping value, death threat, online purchase intention, COVID-19
Consumer behaviour can change according to time and conditions. The hedonic and utilitarian values that evoke our sense of purchase can be effective in producing these differences. Specifically, consumers display purchasing activities with different values and behaviours when they feel insecure, such the feeling of a potential threat to their lives, such as during the current COVID-19 pandemic. The present cross-sectional study aims to investigate the effects of such a potential threat on online purchase intentions toward food products and whether hedonic and/or utilitarian shopping values play a mediating role in these relations during the current COVID-19 pandemic conditions in Turkey. More specifically, data was collected from 556 food consumers during April 2020 using an online survey. This study used a structural equation model to analyse and test the research hypotheses. The results show that a perceived potential threat to life (death threat) is positively related to both utilitarian versus hedonic shopping value and online purchase intentions toward food products. Also, utilitarian versus hedonic shopping values are positively related to a death threat with regard to food products. Utilitarian shopping and hedonic shopping values can play a mediating role between death threat and online purchase intentions. This demonstrates that a strong perceived threat to life, such as in the case of the COVID-19 pandemic or other high risk factors, will result in the intention to buy foods providing hedonic or utilitarian value, which promotes online shopping.